BROOKVILLE — Tuesday night's Brookville boys' varsity game against St. Marys could be called a lot of things, but perhaps the most fitting would be to call it a reality check.
The Raiders played well in the first half and led by as many as 10 points before the Dutchmen stormed out of halftime to shut down the Raiders and take the lead. From there, St. Marys never looked back, picking up a 55-45 victory in Brookville, handing the Raiders their first loss of the season in the process.
"I'll take the blame for that loss," Brookville head coach Bud Baughman said. "I didn't do a good enough job coaching. We're up 10 points in the first half, and we pretty much fell apart."
Things appeared to be right on schedule for the Raiders during the first half, as Brookville used its low-post game keyed by Zane Hackett to build a sizable lead. The Raiders made it 20-11 on a thunderous two-handed slam by Hackett after the Raiders broke a St. Marys press, bringing the gymnasium to its feet, and firing up the home crowd in the process.
That was the last thing the Brookville fans had to cheer about the rest of the way.
St. Marys turned a 25-19 halftime deficit into a 41-36 lead by the end of the third quarter, led by the Dutch's Dylan Reigel, who netted 14 points in the fame alone. It appeared in the first half that Brookville was able to keep pace with a quick St. Marys lineup, but the Dutchmen quickly disproved that theory, burning Brookville's man-to-man defense nearly every trip down the floor in the second half.
"We gave (Reigel) a couple of wide open looks. He's a nice player," Baughman said. "I think we had a couple lapses in defense, and that was the difference in the game. That, and the offensive rebounding, the loose balls, and the turnovers."
Rebounding was another sore spot for Brookville, as St. Marys seemed to track down every long rebound, specifically offensively.
Giving a team that many extra possessions can come back to haunt a team, and it did just that Tuesday.
"That was the difference in the game," Baughman said of St. Marys' ability to secure offensive rebounds. "They were getting a lot of the longer rebounds, and we kind of stressed that at halftime. It just wasn't good enough."
The Raiders tried to close the gap in the fourth, but St. Marys continually put pressure on Brookville the whole way down the court, rarely relinquishing an easy shot. Brookville cut the St. Marys lead to 50-45 in the final minute, but St. Marys was able to make its free throws down the stretch and tack on an easy layup as time expired to close out a rough night for the Raiders.
Hackett dominated the first half on both ends of the floor, finishing with 14 points. Dan Ion had nine, and Ryan Zimmerman, Tashan Mark and Kyle Baughman finished with five points.
Not helping Brookville's cause was early foul trouble on Jared Heschke. The senior was forced to ride the bench due to early fouls, never allowing him to get into a groove. That seemed to bother him later in the game when Heschke was unable to get much going on offense.
Reigel finished with 24 points to lead all scorers.
The Raiders look to bounce back from their first loss of the season when they take on Punxsy Friday.
Baughman feels that this stretch right now will go a long way in determining where his team is at.
"There's never a good time to play Punxsy," Baughman said. "It's a big rivalry game. I know Punxsy will come and give us its best. They always do. The first game was competitive, and I expect the same."
As for the dream of going undefeated, for Baughman, it wasn't that realistic of a thought to begin with.
"No," Baughman said when asked if he thought the Raiders could win all of their games this year. "We never thought it was going to be easy. I said at the beginning of the year that our schedule was harder this year than last year. I think we'll find out a lot about our team between now and Friday."